Monday, April 30, 2007

The true cost of war...

SGT Norman Lane Tollet
6 May 1976 - 28 Apr 2007

Well its been a few days since I've made a post, but its also been a few days since I've been able to get online. The past 2 days there has been a communications blackout. Those of you who have been deployed know what this is. Basically the reason our base goes under a communication blackout is because someone from the base has died and the military wants to make sure they are the ones to contact the family of the deceased before word gets out from soldiers over the internet or phones. Well I was sitting in here on the computer getting ready to post some stupid blog about how boering life is now when they came in and told me we were under comm blackout and had to get off.

I remeber feeling bad at the time because I hate to have to hear about soldiers dying here, but when theres a comm blackout it really hits close to home. This base I stay at is not very big and so theres really not that many soldiers here. When one of them dies, it really lets you know how real things are here.

After I left the internet I went back to my room. I hadn't been there more than 20 minutes when they came in and told everyone in my platoon to get their stuff on and get the trucks ready because we were heading out NOW! We wern't supposed to head out until the next morning so we all started wondering what was going on, but noone knew. We had our assumptions tho that something was or had gone down with some unit in our battallion. We got our stuff ready and shortly after getting the trucks loaded up we were all told to go inside. Ok well maybe were going to be told to stand down. My entire platoon gathered in this one room. Then guys from the other platoons in my company started coming in and we found out that our First Sergeant wanted to speak with us all. OMG! The room was silent, because we all knew what he wanted to say.

After a few minutes our First Sergeant came in and shut the door. He wore a terrible expression on his face. We all knew what was coming, just wondering who. And sure enough the words came from his mouth.

"I just wanted to put out to you guys before the rumors got started. Today SGT Tollett was out with the CO and was shot. He didn't make it."

The room became a dungeon of fear, anger, sorrow and pain. I couldnt believe what I had just heard. I had just seen him right before he had left and had talked with him briefly. How, why could this of happened? What happened? So many questions, but the same end result. One of our fellow soldiers, a brother in arms, and a friend, lost his life. We wern't particularly close, but I had come to be friends with him durring this deployment. I know people have nothing but good things about people after they're death, but this man truely was a great man. He was loved by everone in the company, and probably the worst guy to have ever died from our company here. And I truely mean that from the depths of my soul.

This really put things in to persepective. There wasn't much that could have been done in the situation to of prevented this. It was a lucky stary round that had found had hit in a lethal spot. It could have been anyone else. Thats the sad thing about war. Theres never knowing who or when or what or how. It simply comes down to if its your time or not. And even though we all come over here knowing that this is war, and this is a real possibility here, it still caught everyone off guard. Until that day, noone from our unit had been killed. Im sure others, as well as I held on to that slight hope that all of us would somehow make it home from this place. Maybe I was naive to believe this, but I, as well as everyone else now know the true cost and its not something that can be measured in dollars, or planes or time.

All I know now is that there is a score to be settled. This now became more personal that it ever was, and I feel sorry for the future SOBs that cross our path.

In memory of SGT Tollett, you will never be forgotten and will always have a place with us. Watch down from heaven and be proud of your boys as we are proud of you and your sacrifice.

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Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear that. My heart gos out to all of you guys, and to his family. But most of all, I pity anyone who comes across you guys now.

karoline in the morning said...

rip unnamed soldier

Anonymous said...

Life does not begin with birth, nor does it end with death. Prior to our birth, we dwelled as spirit children with our Father in Heaven. There we eagerly anticipated the possibility of coming to earth and obtaining a physical body. Knowingly we wanted the risks of mortality, which would allow the exercise of agency and accountability. “This life [was to become] a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God.” But we regarded the returning home as the best part of that long-awaited trip, just as we do now. Before embarking on any journey, we like to have some assurance of a round-trip ticket. Returning from earth to life in our heavenly home requires passage through—and not around—the doors of death. We were born to die, and we die to live. As seedlings of God, we barely blossom on earth; we fully flower in heaven.

DebbieKinIL said...

Duece, so sorry to hear this. My prayers going out to his family, your platoon and our nation. We have lost a one of our finest.

Anonymous said...

to my freind we also want the war stop and the blood stoped .the iraq peoples love usa peoples but the oil its the reson this war you and all the young and the young in iraq must be highsound to stop the war togther

Anonymous said...

I think the guy above me is an idiot. Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

My heart hurts for you all and his family. Thank you for ALL your sacrifices on behalf of our Country.

Anonymous said...

I'm keeping all of you in my thoughts.

Let them in, Peter
They are very tired
Give them couches where the angels sleep
And light those fires

Let them wake whole again
To brand new dawns
Fired with the sun, not wartime's
bloody guns

Make their peace be deep
Remember where the broken bodies lie
God knows how young they were
To have to die

Give them things they like
Let them make some noise
Give roadside bands, not golden harps
To these our boys

And let them love, Peter
'Cause they had no time
They should have trees and bird songs
And hills to climb

The taste of summer in a ripened pear
And girls sweet as meadow wind
With flowing hair

And tell them how they are missed
And say not to fear
It's gonna be allright
With us down here

...John Gorka...
(This poem was found in a hospital in the Philippines
during WWII and made into a song by John Gorka.
The nurse who found the poem kept it all these years,
and it was her daughter who sent a copy to John.)

Anonymous said...

Very sad-sympathy to you and your co.

Anonymous said...

Rest in Peace, SGT Tollett. Knowing you did your duty, and that there are people here who respect you and your fellow soldiers for their sacrifice.

Thanks and God bless...

Anonymous said...

"All I know now is that there is a score to be settled. This has become more personal that it ever was, and I feel sorry for the future SOBs that cross our path."

Chilling, very chilling. I understand your rage and your pain, but please, make sure the payback you seek is taken from the right people and not those who happen to be in the way. And don't let your desire for revenge take your soul. It was very sad to hear of the loss of this young soldier. I think his family might take solace in knowing how truly admired and loved he was. You've done them a great service by acknowledging the magnitude of the loss of their loved one.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts are with the friends and family of Sgt Tollett. May the find some comfort for their sorrows.

Thank you for showing us your friend.

Anonymous said...

i was there and saw just how it happened. the iraqi people do not love us. there are plenty that dont hate us though. ive been here long enough to know that there is no fixing a place that doesnt want to be fixed. i believe SGT tollett died for something that he chose to do, but not something that he believed in. none of us believe in it anymore.

Anonymous said...

How many do you have to kill to bring him back? Five, ten, a hundred? It will not matter. You just cause more misery and you will have to live with what you do forever. I learned this 35 years ago.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you. I am a nurse who goes to work every day with a team I love. We have each other's back (meaning we keep each other from making mistakes, and lift the other end of the pull pad) - I received a call the first week in May from my teammate that one of us didn't make it to work that day because she crashed her car and died. I was so glad I kissed her goodbye the last time we worked together but sudden death can strike anywhere any time - it doesn't make it any less sad it just doesn't provoke anger and desire for revenge. Don't drink poison and expect your enemy to die - love and watch out for eachother's backs and come home safe. My son is in the Airforce. love.

Anonymous said...

I think I am out of tears, my eldest son is home from the Army, alive, if broken---my youngest is in AIT now. I want you all to know, I remember those you lose daily...I walk the names into the memorial we built for them: the Walk of the Fallen. While I am against the war, no partizanship intrudes upon those stones---only respect and grief for the fallen. Stay safe as possible, know you are all loved by this Veteran, Veteran's wife and Veteran's mother.

Anonymous said...

Accept my most sincere sympathy in the loss of your friend, SGT Tollett. I extend my condolences as well to SGT Tollett's family and other friends both in Iraq and at home. He will ever be remembered by his grateful nation.

Anonymous said...

Eddie - 39 years ago this summer, I was in the same place you are now . . . angry and full of rage over the loss of 19 of my friends and fellow soldiers in one day. I was ready to go into the next ville we went into and kill everything and everyone I saw, and would have too had not saner minds and hands kept me in check. In retrospect, it would not have mattered how many of "them" I would have killed, nothing would have brought back the men we lost. Remember Sgt. Tollett for what he was: a brave young man who was your friend. For you, he will be forever young.

Stay safe.

Anonymous said...

Eddie... I know you are grieving, angry and probably scared because now it could happen to anyone in your unit... Please take all that negative energy and put it towards prayer, appreciating life with a fervor or anyplace positive... Revenge is not the answer... God will take care of that... You just take care of yourself and the rest of your unit... God be with you Eddie and my prayers go out to the family and friends of our fallen soldier Sgt. Tollett...

Anonymous said...

As our country is in a state of war and our soldiers trudge the dangerous depths of unknown territory, the citizens remaining at home are depraved of knowing the perils endured by our soldiers. The passion captured in your cadence combined with genuine renditions of your experience offer a tiny glimpse into your world. I am grateful for your service, and I hold all of you within my thoughts and prayers. The uncertainty and emptiness of comm blackouts and the daunting unwelcome news from your First Sergeant gave me the chills, while also reminding me of the sacrifice each soldier makes. Though I can not fully relate to your feelings, since I have never placed myself in harms way and risked my life to fight for my country, I can grieve for you and our fallen soldiers. I was touched when you said, “And even though we all came over here knowing that this is war, and that this is a real possibility here, it still caught everyone off guard.” Many of us are attuned to the realities of life, yet are unprepared when they take occurrence. Stay strong in spirit, stay safe.

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old blog, but I want you to know that my thoughts are with you and SGT Tollet. No one truly dies as long as they are remembered.
Hope all is well.